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Author Topic: MidOhio - Hoosier Super Tour / OVR GLDiv Race of Champions - June 2 - 4  (Read 1786 times)
Rich Grunenwald
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Street Racer
Posts: 3458

Stirring the pot...

« on: June 08, 2017, 06:20:34 PM »

Short story:  Got to the track Thursday.  Drove car off trailer. Practice and qualifying Friday. Qualifying and Race 1 on Saturday. Race 2 on Sunday.  Drove back on trailer.

Long story:

After the PittRace weekend, I was reasonably optimistic for a good show at MidOhio.  We got up to the track Thursday afternoon, registered / teched and plenty of time to set up in the Middle Paddock by the grass.  Really a great spot. Stella had plenty of shade and kids to play with. Talked to Racer Phil for awhiel.  Headed back to the hotel for shower and dinner. However, our relaxing evening was not for long as Kathy got a call regarding her Dad, and we ended up heading back to Columbus around midnight.  Once that was settled, we got a few hours sleep, and I headed back to Mid Ohio to make my 8a practice session while Kathy stayed behind to take care  things with her Dad.  

The track was pretty green first thing Friday morning, which was OK by me as I simply needed laps to get used to it again.  I was turning in the 1:50's which was slowest than I had done since 1994 or so in my SSB Sentra. But, I have to be patient.  My younger, exuberent self would have simply driven harder, eventually leading to an off track forray or worse, but I am patient enough now to think through things. Next session would be better.  

Checked the car, took a nap, visited with friends Dave Kutney and Rick Barger, and got ready for the first qualifying session after lunch.  This went much better, down into the 1:48's even without any really clean laps.  But the track being better and I was a bit more confident.  Still not near where I need to be but moving in the right direction.  The session was incident free for me, and afterwards, I did a quick check on the car and all was OK.  More napping until the OVR Welcome Party.

The party was great - the region really did a nice job with this. A "Margaritaville" themed affair with three types of beer, Margaritas, and really great Mexican hors'd'ourves.  Spent time with folks I haven't seen in awhile which was nice.  Then, headed back to the hotel and met up with Kathy around 7p.  We headed to dinner at Black Dog Tavern, in the clubhouse at a nearby golf course.  Nice place, good food, decent beer selection, and a couple guys playing music which of course I enjoyed.  

Got a good night's sleep, and then to the track. Son Andrew came up for the day, and got there mid session. Qualifying Saturday on a cold track did not yield improvement over Friday, so I was gridded 8th in class for the race after lunch.  
 Still, additional track time didn't hurt.  Again, the car required little maintenance so I spent time relaxing and an old work buddy, Ed Salo, came over to say hello.  Paul Magee and Lisa Holdren arrived late morning, as did Jeff and Stefanie Mabrey. Got to talk awhile with Tom O'Gorman who was driving Adam Jabbay's CRX in STL.  So, I was all set for the race at 1p.

On the pace lap, the cars in the row ahead of me, were sleeping at the green.  I saw the green come out just after entering the carousel, and they didn't notice til exiting the carousel.  So, once again immediately 5 - 6 car lengths back at the start.  And, there wasn't room to pass them.  

This actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise as there was melee in Turn 1.  When I got there, cars were all over the track but fortunately there was a path through.  Here's what the start looked like from Matt Downing's seat, three rows ahead of me.


Fortunately, Matt and everybody else got throught it.  JT Murray came together with another STL CRX and spun, causing the whole thing. Everyone was fortunate there were no big wrecks.   Things proceeded with a lot of racing and passing.  Matt caught up and got by as well as some other cars.  By lap 10 or so, the fast STL and T2 cars were coming up to lap me, and a T2 Corvette and Eric Kutil in his STL Civic were in my mirrors. I hugged the inside through the carousel and on to the front straight, giving the Corvette plenty of room to pass.  But he was really no faster than me through the carousel, and when he accelerated out on the front straight, his rear got sideways and tapped my LF - Eric got a nice video of it here:


The race from there was pretty uneventful.  I passed a few cars, raced a few, etc. but couldn't pull in on the T4 group ahead of me (Kutney, Downing, Hardison).  Had a good time staying ahead of an STL Sentra, and by the last few laps, the car had really lost its handling, especially in the esses.   Still, I managed to stay ahead of him for the finish.  

After the flag, coming into the pits, the Steward pointed me over and I thought "Shoot - did I miss a flag or something?"  Instead, the Corvette was parked in front of me, and the Stewards wanted my side of the incident.  Of course, I didn't have Eric's vantage point of the Corvette's, uh, tactics, so I wrote it off as an unintentional racing incident.  Turns out, he had been holding up the T2 leaders for a couple laps, and so he got a talking to on that also.  

Back in the paddock, Kathy and the rest met me, and I checked the damage - very, very minor.  The car was already dented where he hit me, so I didn't even have to fix it!  A quick check, and found the LF camber bolt loosened, and I was running with zero camber.  Looks like it's time for a new bolt.  Other than that, all was good, and the car was again ready for the Sunday race - love the maintenance aspect of the car.  

The Corvette driver came over and apologized which was a sporting thing to do, and I appreciated it.  He said "This is my first time back on track in 12 years", and I said "Awesome! This is my second in 13 years!"  We had a laugh on that, and then Kathy, Andrew, Jeff, Stef, and Paul and Lisa and I went up to watch races.

The rest of the day was uneventful, and we went back to the Black Dog for dinner with Paul and Lisa, who, by the way, are getting married in Monterey in August.

Sunday began bright and early, and I was gridded 36th OA and 9th in T4 based on Saturday's results.  I was puzzled how I had moved up from 42nd to 36th but didn't ask questions!  Turns out I would find out shortly.  Sunday weather was beautiful, and the start this time was better.  I got the jump and passed a few cars entering 1 on the inside and we were off racing.  Hardison was just in front of me and my goal was to get ahead of him.  However there was a Miata behind me in STL (or so I thought) that was all over me like a cheap suit for the first few laps, and I could feel my tires losing grip by getting overworked staying ahead of him.  I figured I'd never catch Dan if I overheated my tires, so I figured I'd let the Miata catch Dan and work on him for awhile, overheating HIS tires, then I could close in.

Good strategy, except after the race I found the Miata was a T4 car.  DOH!  He was runing multiple classes, and had letters for T4, SM, STL, ITA on his car.  Shame on me for not checking his car number and class before heading to grid.

It turns out it was all for naught anyhow.  On lap 10, coming through 1, there was a very nasty crash on the outside of the track.  A STU Civic and T2 Solstice came together somehow, and crashed hard into the tires on track left.  The Civic is no doubt totalled, and the Solstice had a ton of damage also.  Fortunately, there were no serious injuries to either driver, though the Civic driver did visit the hospital from what I heard.  The Pace Car came out, and the race ended under black flag two laps later.

From there, we headed to impound and trophies. OVR members did well.  Eric Kutil completed his sweep of the weekend with a win in both races, and Tom O'Gorman had a pair of thirds in STL.  Talked to the Mustang's previous owner Greg Vandersluis at impound, and got good insight into a few things I had questions on.

We watched a couple of races from 1, then loaded up and headed out to get home and unloaded.  Once again, a great weekend, and happy to get through it with only a minor incident.  At this point, we're not 100% sure what our next race will be.  Maybe Gingerman in July or Grattan in August.  Heck, maybe both!   Regardless, it will have a new set of shoes, so I am really looking forward to seeing what it can do!

« Last Edit: June 08, 2017, 07:03:32 PM by 31rx7 » Logged

I have two big heavy 'Murican race cars. Must be an old guy thing.
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Posts: 493

« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2017, 03:03:12 PM »

nice story Rich, big fun
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